I am going to take a run at today’s SoCS challenge by looking at Passover Seders I’ve been to.
My grandmother ran her Seder with military precision. Everything during a Seder has an order and reason to it. But as a young child, it seemed like a test of endurance as the grownups read in Hebrew and in English. I just wanted to consume whatever was attached to the aromas wafting through her house. Most of the special Passover foods were never made at home. My grandmother was an amazing cook. While I did not understand all of it, I did love the feeling of family history.
When my aunt took over the reins, things ran a little different. My aunt would often run into a family member, who knew a family member, who thought of a family member that needed a place to be for Passover. Of course, they were invited. That’s how she rolled. Our Seders were often filled with additional people I had never met. It was great. Passover was a wonderful ritual filled event that I looked forward to every year. I would ask my aunt if I could help with anything because she often seemed to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The same reply always was given, “I’ve got it covered.” Eventually, I stopped asking.
I began having my own second night Seders at home. True to form, I loved inviting others to join us. My goal was to include people who had never attended a Seder so they could experience an important part of who I was (and am). I’d run through the plethora of recipes in my collection to see what I wanted to make. Foolishly, I often didn’t try the recipe ahead of time. So, there were some interesting dishes served to unwitting guests. Every Passover holds special memories in my heart.
When circumstances changed, I began hosting my aunt and uncle for Passover. I finally understood why the cook runs around like a crazy person. I would do my best to accommodate the special food needs of those at my table. For example, I had to make three different kinds of potatoes. My aunt and uncle preferred roasted potatoes. The rest of us couldn’t live without mashed potatoes. But some family members are dairy intolerant. All were mashed up then divided into two bowls. One had garlic, milk, and butter. The other had almond milk, fake butter, and no garlic. Funny how you remember things like that.
I ran into more restrictions when family members told me they could not eat certain foods. For years, I had to remove walnuts from my charoset. I was reminded of this yesterday when I used pecans because that has been my norm for so many years. A few tears were shed at the fact that I no longer have that restriction.
In years I had both my aunt and uncle as well as my grandchildren, I needed to run things very differently. I still completed the Seder as required, but I added my own levity to the occasion. I included Sammy Spider’s First Passover, The Matzah Ball Fairy, and The Matzo Ball Boy, as well as others for time before we started our Seder. I included soft toy plagues that the little ones were able to play with. Later I included plastic and paper representations of the plagues. There were Passover coloring sheets at the table to keep the little ones involved. For a couple of years, we read children’s books about Passover instead of reading the Haggadah. The most important thing to me is to continue feeling the love of my heritage.
I’ve run on now for long enough. I had more in my brain, but it’s time to start finishing my courses for tonight. Happy Passover.